Book Review; The Book Of Sand- Theo Clare

Page Count 400

Publication date January 2022

Publisher Cornerstone

GoodReads link


SAND. A hostile world of burning sun.

Outlines of several once-busy cities shimmer on the horizon. Now empty of inhabitants, their buildings lie in ruins.

In the distance a group of people – a family – walk towards us.

Ahead lies shelter: a ‘shuck’ the family call home and which they know they must reach before the light fails, as to be out after dark is to invite danger and almost certain death.

To survive in this alien world of shifting sand, they must find an object hidden in or near water. But other families want it too. And they are willing to fight to the death to make it theirs.

It is beginning to rain in Fairfax County, Virginia when McKenzie Strathie wakes up. An ordinary teenage girl living an ordinary life – except that the previous night she found a sand-lizard in her bed, and now she’s beginning to question everything around her, especially who she really is ..


The Book Of Sand tells of two timelines, a cloud obsessed teenager in the American capitol and a ragtag group of desperate searchers stranded in the deserts of Dubai.

To enjoy the adventure I had to put aside reasoning. If you need to know what, why, where and who to initially invest in a plot then The Book Of Sand may not be for you.
Clare lays out the rules and threats of the desert task from the off but we only really know that finding the Sarkpont is a matter of survival for the Dormilone ‘family’.

Mckenzie’s storyline begins with the usual highschool dramas but descends quickly into a mysterious fever dream.
I found the narrative switching between Mckenzie and the Dormilones quite jarring whilst the two entirely different worlds shared nothing more than a sneaky lizard.

At the 50% mark the two storylines begin to properly intertwine, I had a buzzing in the back of my mind that I’d been missing some clear links as I tried to piece everything together alongside Mckenzie and Newt.
And I had. An absolute facepalm moment.

Part Two of The Book Of Sand ratchets up the pace, with the worldbuilding and character introductions complete, events in the desert spiral out of control as danger looms over them.

I enjoyed The Book Of Sand, it has a unique concept that works brilliantly as the starting point of the series.
Some of the characters are more fleshed out and likeable than others but the majority of the desert plot is based on Spider. I particularly liked his bond with the camel and he had a great backstory.

I believe The Book Of Sand was intended as the beginning of a series (as evidenced by the massive cliffhanger and many open plot threads to continue) but despite searching online I’m not sure whether Theo Clare /Mo Hayder was able to finish The Book Of Clouds in her lifetime. Fingers crossed she did as I would love to see what happens to the Dormilones next.

Features & Functions:

Author: Roxanne Michelle

Dramatic, curly-haired wannabe writer from a nowhere town in Somerset. Stop-starter of all projects great and small. Here to talk books, film, mental health and lifestyle.

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